March 22, 2017
READ: Hosea 2:11-15
I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope (v.15).
“You have to stick with that movie, even when it gets rough.” My friend pulled The Shawshank Redemption from the DVD player as he spoke. “The rough stuff is what makes the ending so hopeful.”
In a similar way, the stoning of Achan and his family has always been a troubling story for me—part of the ‘rough stuff’ of the Bible. During the destruction of Jericho, Achan stole treasures that belonged to God. After his sin was discovered, he and his family were taken to the Valley of Achor and stoned to death (Joshua 7:16-26).
The name Achor means “trouble”. Yet Hosea records for us that God didn’t want the story to end there. Years after Achan’s death, God announced that He would redeem the site of the man’s betrayal. “I will return her vineyards to [Israel] and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity” (Hosea 2:15).
God has the power to transform. A site of betrayal became a door to hope and future restoration. A place of judgement becomes a place of growing vineyards. Years later Jesus proclaimed to His followers, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus is our hope—the way of growth and transformation.
Only God is capable of bringing hope out of betrayal. Only God can take the site of an execution and transform it to a place of grace. May He forgive us of our betrayals, and may we turn to Him today for transformation of the ‘rough stuff’ in our lives.
365-day plan: 1 Samuel 8:6-22
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and consider the transformation God brings to those who believe in Him.
How has the rough stuff of your life kept you from hoping in God? What will you do to begin submitting anew to God’s transforming ways?